Well, we’ve all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonades!“. Frankly, you are still better off if you have lemons; life, on the other hand, gives you worse, and the worst part is that you can’t make anything out of it.
My life was good and merry until it took a u-turn. After one year of rigorous studies for UPSC exams, I went through a long period of anxiety and insomnia. It took me about five months to recover from that phase, and it was my internship that helped me recover from the worst days of my life.
Even though I had a lot of work, I wasn’t happy. Perhaps I wasn’t interested in what I was doing at that time, or maybe because it had become too monotonous and dull. That’s when I understood how our mental health and our work are mutually related.
After searching for a few internships, I got a call from Swechha. It is an environmental NGO which contributes enormously to the well-being of nature and its surroundings.
The selection process was simple – the coordinator sent a mail inviting all the applicants, and she asked us to bring our CVs along.
Once we reached the office, I noticed that the couches and desks were made using recycled materials. The entire office was made using recycled material – there were sofas made out of old car tires and recycled leather materials, and the terrace was designed with beautiful glass flower pots and small plants.
After a short while, the coordinator joined us and asked us about ourselves. It was a beautiful conversation in a cosy upcycled room.
Once we were done, she gave us a detailed introduction about Swechha and its work. I started from the next day itself.
I worked in a park adopted by Swechha in Vasant Kunj. The entire park was designed by Swechha, and it was divided into a kitchen garden, a butterfly garden, a cactus garden, an indoor plants section, a vegetable garden, and a forest garden.
There was a gardener whose prime responsibility was to take care of the park and water the plants. Most of the plants were planted by the volunteers and had already been identified but the species which were indigenous to the park hadn’t.
I had been assigned the task to identify the species, probably because I am a Botany graduate. It was difficult to identify the small plants like the creeping Blepharis, the rock breaker plant, and the coat button plant but it was extremely fulfilling, on the other hand. I also did a lot of research on the other plants from the citric and the kitchen gardens. I had to work in the office as well as in the field, and so, it hardly ever became monotonous.
My second task was to start my own campaign under Swechha’s “Monsoon Wooding” event. It was a fundraising event wherein people could support and contribute towards the upliftment of nature. The major objective was to raise funds for a greener Delhi where we would plant more saplings and look after them.
The name of my individual campaign was “One step greener, Several steps cleaner“; my goal was to raise ₹5000 for the project which I achieved within 5 days.
It was an amazing experience to convince people to contribute for the greater good, and it was even better to see people contributing, to see that they still cared. It felt as if people had given meaning to my campaign’s title.
I learned a lot working with Swechha. I learned about work ethics, team spirit and how important it is to be punctual. The internship helped me brush up my entire Botany knowledge through practical work, unlike college where things were mostly theoretical. I could touch the plants to study their texture, smelled them to learn about the aromatoids present, and researched about the pigments present.
It even helped me open up to people and provided me with much needed confidence. I am grateful to have seized such an opportunity and to be able to give back to the environment in the most fruitful manner while getting rid of my inhibitions.
Pujashree Mahanta, a botany graduate from Hindu College shares her journey at Swechha and how this internship helped her contribute to the environment. This story was first published on Internshala.